- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2022

Rep. Mayra Flores of Texas, the first female Mexican-born member of Congress, says she has been the target of racist slurs because she is a Hispanic Republican and not a Democrat.

She recently listed on Twitter the various derogatory names hurled at her such as “Miss Frijoles” since she won a special House election in June, flipping a southwestern Texas seat that Democrats held for nearly a century.

“So far this summer, the far left has referred to me as far-right Latina, not the Real Deal, Breakfast Taco, unqualified opponent for being born in Mexico, Miss Frijoles,” Ms. Flores wrote. “This is what happens when you stray from their narrative and start to think for yourself!”

She’s not alone.

Hispanic Republicans have faced a barrage of racist attacks as the party has made significant inroads with Hispanic voters in recent years, resulting in more Hispanic GOP candidates and Congress members.

“It wasn’t until I was in Republican politics in Washington D.C. that I felt discriminated against,” said Rep. Mike Garcia, California Republican. “I’ve had people tell me you’re not a real Hispanic if you’re voting with Republicans or if you believe in [conservative] values.” 

Yesli Vega, a GOP candidate seeking to oust Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia, said she’s been called names since she stepped into the political spotlight.

“It only ever comes from Democrats,” Ms. Vega said. “For so long, you have a [Democratic Party] that’s been preaching to Americans that they’re the party of acceptance and tolerance and that they want to encourage more women to run, especially minority women … and all of a sudden, I am no longer all of those great things they were once championing.”

The Democratic Party has long made allegations of racism and intolerance a staple of its campaigns against Republicans, though it has been slow to condemn attacks on GOP minority candidates, including rhetoric that labels Black Republicans as “Uncle Tom” or “Oreos.”

Rep. Raul Ruiz, California Democrat who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, pointed his finger back at Republicans.

“Democrats who run, whether you’re African American or Latino, get attacked with racially motivated attacks all the time,” Mr. Ruiz said. “On the House floor, we often see Republican members degrading minority populations, especially immigrants, so it’s really nothing new.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, called out racial slurs against Ms. Flores from a blogger working for a Democratic congressman.

“This racist, sexist behavior from Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez is disgusting. He owes Rep. Mayra Flores an apology, and every other Democrat in Congress — including Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi — should condemn his conduct,” Mr. McCarthy tweeted.

The blogger had referred to Ms. Flores as “Miss Frijoles,” “Miss Enchiladas” and a “cotton-pickin’ liar.”

Mr. Gonzalez, whose Texas district borders Ms. Flores’ district, said he didn’t pay the blogger, Jerry McHale, for political attacks and condemned such rhetoric.

“We will not be advertising on this platform again,” Mr. Gonzalez told The Washington Post, adding that he also condemned former President Donald Trump for calling Mexicans “rapists and murderers.”

“If only Rep. Flores had the courage to do the same,” he told the newspaper.

Mr. Trump made the remark when launching his presidential bid in 2015, referring to immigrants by saying Mexico was not “sending their best” and that murderers and rapists were among the border jumpers.

Other Democrats said the slurs directed at Hispanic Republicans are the same ilk Hispanic Democrats have suffered for years.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas Democrat, said he’s long experienced racist remarks since he entered politics, including comments from tea party activists in 2010 telling him “to go back to Mexico.”

“I don’t care if it’s a Republican or Democrat,” Mr. Cuellar said. “Those types of racist remarks should not be allowed.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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